J Cancer 2020; 11(6):1505-1515. doi:10.7150/jca.38616

Review

Molecular Mechanism of Pancreatic Stellate Cells Activation in Chronic Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Cancer

Guihua Jin, Weilong Hong, Yangyang Guo, Yongheng Bai, Bicheng Chen

Key Laboratory of Diagnosis and Treatment of Severe Hepato-Pancreatic Diseases of Zhejiang Province, The First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325000, China

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Citation:
Jin G, Hong W, Guo Y, Bai Y, Chen B. Molecular Mechanism of Pancreatic Stellate Cells Activation in Chronic Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Cancer. J Cancer 2020; 11(6):1505-1515. doi:10.7150/jca.38616. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v11p1505.htm

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Abstract

Activated pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are the main effector cells in the process of fibrosis, a major pathological feature in pancreatic diseases that including chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. During tumorigenesis, quiescent PSCs change into an active myofibroblast-like phenotype which could create a favorable tumor microenvironment and facilitate cancer progression by increasing proliferation, invasiveness and inducing treatment resistance of pancreatic cancer cells. Many cellular signals are revealed contributing to the activation of PSCs, such as transforming growth factor-β, platelet derived growth factor, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), Smads, nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) pathways and so on. Therefore, investigating the role of these factors and signaling pathways in PSCs activation will promote the development of PSCs-specific therapeutic strategies that may provide novel options for pancreatic cancer therapy. In this review, we systematically summarize the current knowledge about PSCs activation-associated stimulating factors and signaling pathways and hope to provide new strategies for the treatment of pancreatic diseases.

Keywords: pancreatic stellate cells, fibrosis, signaling pathway, pancreatic cancer, chronic pancreatitis